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Poll: Most Californians Want Offshore Fracking Ban
SAN DIEGO— As the California Coastal Commission meets in San Diego this week, a new poll (see PDF) finds that 55 percent of Californians back a ban on offshore fracking and 65 percent want oil companies prevented from dumping fracking chemicals into the ocean.
The poll also found almost half of state voters are less likely to visit beaches because of chemical discharge and offshore fracking, which has been used in hundreds of oil wells off the Southern California coast. The poll was commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and conducted by Public Policy Polling.
“Californians know that offshore fracking poses a toxic threat to our entire coast,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans program director. “This poll offers the Coastal Commission one more reason to halt fracking in our delicate ocean ecosystems. It’s time to protect our wildlife, beaches and coastal communities from dangerous fracking chemicals and the risk of a catastrophic oil spill.”
The Coastal Commission has struggled to determine the full extent of offshore fracking, which involves blasting water and industrial chemicals into the sea-floor at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas.
The oil industry has federal permission to annually dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including fracking fluid, directly into the ocean off California’s coast. A recent analysis by Center biologists found that oil companies fracking in California waters have admitted to using at least 10 chemicals that can harm aquatic life.
“This poll shows that Californians are deeply concerned about the environmental consequences of fracking, whether it’s done on land or in offshore wells,” said Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling. “A majority of the state supports a ban on offshore fracking in California’s coastal waters.”
Among other notable poll results:
* 70 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Independents support a ban on offshore fracking;
* 56 percent of Californians oppose increased use of fracking in the state;
* 66 percent are concerned about offshore fracking’s effects on endangered marine wildlife like blue whales;
* Almost half of Californians believe that fracking harms the state’s reputation as a leader in addressing climate change.
The poll of 500 California voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Aug. 5 and 6 and has a margin of error of + or – 4.4 percent.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
August 12, 2014
Center for Biological Diversity